By Ndey Sowe
The Ministry of Finance on Tuesday 11th June 2019, signed a $30 million worth Social Safety Net Project. The project is funded by the World Bank (WB) and the signing ceremony was held by both Government and WB representatives. The project’s objective according to the authorities is to improve the coordination of social assistance activities by including the extremely vulnerable in the country.
Mod AK Secka, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance said the project targets twenty districts nationwide with extremely vulnerable households; that the social protection secretariat for the project will be housed at the Office of the Vice President which will provide strategic oversight and policy coordination for the project. Secka said the implementing partners are the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA), the Department of Community Development (DCD) and the Department of Social Welfare (DSF), and that the project will support the establishment of a Social Registry and provide data on key household characteristics to facilitate common assessment and eligibility determination for social any assistance program. He said the project will provide a platform for improved coordination.
Elene Imnadze the World Bank Country Representative said the signing marks an important milestone in the close collaboration by both parties in terms of support for social assistance. She said the project is in the National Development Plan (NDP) and the National Social Protection Policy as a commitment by Government to deliver assistance to vulnerable individuals and families as well as make sure that citizens develop and achieve their potentials. “The project is mainly for the most vulnerable in the society,” she said; that there effort has been put in place for the country’s vulnerable districts and poor households; that funds will be spent on food and social services for target beneficiaries in the medium term as well as on education and health for children coming from vulnerable families with the creation of opportunities for them to develop and utilize their potentials as they reach adulthood.
The WB Country representative further said that local officials will be available to provide training for beneficiaries to help invest wisely in terms of food production and education, to name a few.
She assured that they will continue to support the Government of the Gambia as well as vulnerable communities that need social and economic development, to boost the country’s national development.